“Methamphetamine is the number one drug issue in our community, and while we do see heroin use, meth continues to dominate the drug landscape in Laclede County,” Millsap said.
LEBANON, Missouri- Sheriff Millsap says Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group (LANEG) seized over 20 pounds of methamphetamine that was destined for distribution in Laclede County over the past year. “The 20 pounds of methamphetamine collectively was seized both in the city of Lebanon, and in the county, or in route to the county. This does not include seizures made by Laclede County Deputies, Lebanon Police Officers, or local state troopers on traffic stops, or separate investigations,” said Sheriff David Millsap. The Sheriff added the 20 pounds of methamphetamine is significant considering meth is usually sold on the street at the 1/4 to one gram of product to the user. The estimated street value of the Laclede County seizures was near $900,000.
In addition over $83,000 in cash was seized by the task force related to Laclede County distribution cases, as well as 57 firearms illegally possessed by convicted felons or those involved in the drug trade. Thirty-seven people were arrested for distribution for methamphetamine, marijuana and other controlled substances during the year. The seizures and arrests in Laclede County have led to federal indictments of seven suspects for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, including one suspect who admitted to distributing over fifty pounds of methamphetamine in Laclede County. “When I came into office I wanted LANEG back in the county working on the drug issue, their work and the cooperative work between the Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police and the Missouri Highway Patrol is paying off, but every day the battle, to reduce the influx of meth in our community is a grind. The battle for families is a grind as well, as they deal with loved ones trapped in the cycle of drug addiction,” the Sheriff said.
“Methamphetamine is the number one drug issue in our community, and while we do see heroin use, meth continues to dominate the drug landscape in Laclede County,” Millsap said. The use of methamphetamine drives our property crime issues. The Sheriff said “During the past year we have seen a significant increase in property crimes, especially in the area of stolen vehicles and other thefts.” In nearly all cases the theft is tied to the use of illegal drugs. “Either they are out stealing to supply their addiction or they are under the influence of drugs while committing the crime.”
The effort to combat drugs not only involved enforcement efforts, but the Sheriff’s Office is now in its second year of partnering with the Kiwanis Club and Boswell Elementary School with a 10-week program to provide children with much needed life skills in staying away and out of the drug culture. “The culmination of the drug program is a graduation in which the students present a program to their parents about what they have learned,” the Sheriff said. The Sheriff Office and LANEG partnered together for a training session for local educators about the signs of drug use among students. “We have to focus both on enforcement and a community wide effort to deal with the drug issue.”
The Sheriff’s Office had contact with nearly 13,190 people at community events this past year. “Our attendance at community events is important in our efforts to reduce crime. Often while we are talking with people at an event we will get information on criminal or suspicious activity in an area, and I think people want to see a Sheriff’s Office that is involved in the community,” Millsap said. We now have 11 community watch programs. “Our focus during 2019 is working with the community to reduce property crimes,” Millsap said, “We are continuing to look at ways to improve our service to the community, and during the next year we are stressing crime prevention; locking vehicle doors, garage doors, homes and out buildings.”
Last year deputies took nearly 1,900 preliminary reports, an increase of nearly 130 reports from a year ago. Deputies were dispatched to 14,328 calls for service. Laclede County 911-Communications took 16,955 911-emergency calls in 2018.
The daily population of the Laclede County Detention Center averaged 142 inmates in 2018. The jail capacity is at 122; however, current renovations will add 24 beds to the facility. “During the summer we consistently average 150 inmates per day. We are currently staffed for 122 inmates, so the increase in population puts a strain on our people to manage the number of inmates we regularly have,” Millsap said. The Sheriff’s Office transported 586 inmates to the Department of Corrections during the year.